Although it is approaching 50 years since it was demolished, Cawdells stands alongside Clements and Trewins as names that are synonymous with the history of Watford town centre.

The Watford Observer has again teamed up with Watford Museum and is delighted to showcase some pictures from its archive - this week remembering the celebration of a landmark royal occasion by the department store.

The museum's volunteer archivist Christine Orchard said: "In 1904 James Cawdell bought Longley’s, an existing draper at 71 High Street, opposite the Market Place. The shop was next to the Essex Arms hotel and in 1929 Mr Cawdell bought the hotel. He ran the hotel for four months until the licence expired then demolished it and his shop to build a new store.

"His new department store is at the centre of this photograph and like the adjacent Timothy Whites, is decked out with decorations to celebrate King George V Silver Jubilee in 1935. Both buildings have now gone but the low building to its right is the current HSBC bank.

"Cawdells closed and the shop was demolished in 1973 to make way for Charter Place. This in its turn has recently been redeveloped."

Watford Museum has now reopened to the public. Admission is free but book first – call 01923 232297 or email For more information, visit